Archive for July 2012

vs. Thespa Kusatsu (youtube)   Leave a comment

Horror show, it’s time to go Koji.

Posted July 29, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Thespa Kusatsu (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa 0 : 3 Thespa

This will be a game largely forhgotten by Avispa fans for what happened on the pitch, but remembered for what I imagine will be Maeda’s last game at the club. On the final whistle he came over with the fans and in front of an angry crowd bowed in a gesture which seemed to me like he was saying goodbye. If he had any doubts then they would have been dispelled by they shouts from the crowd and even a special banner asking him to quit. I’ve never seen a more hostile crowd.

The performance by Avispa had been dire. Again handicapped by a totally useless midfield where Suzuki Jun and Okada made the Thespa number 6 look like a top quality midfield general rather than a J2 journeyman. Naruoka and Jogo tried playing narrow, tried switching wings, tried playing balls to the fullbacks and strikers, but nothing could solve the midfield issue. By the end we were playing with Koga as striker, having already tried 4231 for a while too.



Nothing was working, and while we were holding the ball for the majority of the match, again we made so very few chances. The best obviously coming from Kim Minje (again carrying the team on his own at times) who crossed for Sakata to head against the crossbar with Jogo making a real mess of the rebound.
Thespa were happy to defend deeply, and Avispa couldn’t find anyway to break down the defence. It turned into a boring crossing practice for the Thespa defence and keeper who were repeatedly easily heading clear or catching ineffective crosses into the box.

Maeda might try to claim that 2 of the goals were down to individual mistakes which no amount of preparation could stop, but I’d disagree, the mistakes were caused by players messing around with the ball and seemingly refuse to pass forward which resulted in them being caught out.
The first was scored after Jogo was caught in possession in his own half and the Thespa left winger was able to put a cross in which after missing the first forward was converted well by one at the back of the box.
They had 2 really good chances to score again as their Brazilian #10 started to run at people with a header flashed wide from 2m out and Kobara being in the right place to block another on the line, but Avispa eventually went behind as a ball from midfield was passed up to the Brazilian guy to choose his corner and squeeze it past Kamiyama from the edge of the box. He should have saved it, but with no midfield or defence ahead of him it is within his rights to say it should never have got near him.
The third was a goal which will be replayed lots of times. Kobara won’t be happy to see it gain as he was caught on the ball (again) by substitute Alex rafael who ran 1-on-1 at kamiyama and rather than try to take it past the keeper rifled an audacious shot over him from 40 yards out. The 3rd goal was indicative of Avispa’s whole afternoon; repeatedly passing back to Kobara to punt forward and lose possession when it would be easier to cross into the box.

Ishizu came on and looed better than Naruoka again, without being great, and Samir got a chance after presumably wondering why he wasn’t doing anything at a club in crisis. Samir actually did quite well with intelligent movement and a more direct game.

Thespa go above us in the table, and thankfully Kumamoto also lost to mean we aren’t yet in the bottom 5.

Posted July 29, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

Player targets – halfway point   Leave a comment

At the start of the season i set some targets for the players in the squad.

Having done so badly I thought I would look back and see how players are doing compared to my expectation and hopes.

This is what I wrote, and how they are currently doing….

Kamiyama = Start and finish the season having stayed as first choice keeper in the League.
On target. Has made a couple of mistakes recently, but otherwise has probably been our best player.

Kim Min Je = Get 8 assists for the season.
On target. Our main source of attack at the moemnt, and definitely on course to get more than 8 assists.

Okada = Play well enough in one position to make it clear whether he is a full-back or a winger.
On target. Hasn’t done my target, but has shown he is nothing apart from a defensive midfielder. Nothing more than an average J2 level one, but has a clear position.

Wada = Finish the season without the disappointment of relegation or missing promotion.
Off Target. Bad season for him. At least he played while having a disappointing season previously, now he can’t get in the team.

Koga = Get 30 games in the season and prove he is here to play rather than retire back in Fukuoka.
On Target. Will get 30 games, but must be very unhappy with the defence.

Yamaguchi = Limit the goals we concede from set-piece headers to under 8.
Off target. Fairly prophetic. He isn’t in the team, and we concede headed goals almost every week.

Sueyoshi = Run over 10km a game as a box-to-box midfielder.
Off target. Doesn’t get a game, and when he does looks off the pace. Should have been an important player this season.

Suzuki Jun = Have at least 1 long shot in every game he plays.
Off target. Started the season doing this, and scored the winner in our second game against Machida, but is now too deep and too slow.

Jogo = Mix his movement so he is sometimes running towards passes rather than onto them.
On target. His movement has been more confident this season, but still needs to go looking for the ball more.

Yutaka = Score over 15 goals.
Off target. 10 for the season would be a miracle.

Kobara = End the season as clear first choice at centre-back.
Off target. The guy can’t handle defending and organising.

Kihara = Force his way to getting 5 first team starts.
Off target. I think he should be getting more chances, but at the moment he isn’t near starting.

Sakata = Be in the top 10 scorers charts for the division.
Off target. Started like a train, but has had terrible form since injury. Could still do it.

Ishizu = Score a goal after playing from the start for the first team.
Off target. As with Kihara I think he deserves a chance, but isn’t considered to play from the start at the moment.

Chang = Become first choice as right-back at some point.
Off target. Our right-back spot is a disaster, and now injured he may have missed his chance.

Nishida = Get 5 goals as substitute.
Off target. Could still do it, but doesn’t seem to be able to score at the moment.

Naruoka = Be in the reckoning for J2 Player of the Year.
Off target. Only award he might win is ‘Most over-rated player in J2’. If he was half as good as he thinks he is we would have a great player.

Miyaji = Get 10 substitute appearances.
Off target. JFL level player. Surely his last season at the club.

Omata = Start 10 games.
On Target. Did well before being injured.

Kawata = Play all Cup games.
On target. No Cup games played yet, but he will start them.

Yoshihara = Score a goal for the first team.
Off target. Not even close to the bench yet.

Kasagawa = Be ready as sub for all games.
On target. Always fit and ready.

Son = Make his first team debut.
Off target. Nowhere near the bench.

Hatamoto = Make his first team debut.
On target. Came in when he was needed and did really well. The bright point of this season.

Ushinohama = Be happy to play as substitute and make a difference against teams with 15 minutes left to play.
Off target. Why doesn’t Maeda give him a chance. After what he did last season it is a mystery.

Tsutsumi = Be first choice right-back by the end of the season.
On target. Bizarrely he has achieved his target while playing pretty badly.

Posted July 28, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Thespa Kusatsu (preview)   Leave a comment

And so the season continues, and Avispa continue their descent into the bottom 5. Looking at the squad, and money spent, it is fairly inconceivable for them to be doing as badly as they are this season, surely there has to be an incredible run of form at some point.

Welcoming Kusatsu to Level-5 stadium, they are a team who have never impressed me that much but seem to be able to beat and draw with us every time we play.
This sort of sums them up, a team who have no flashy players, or stand-out talent, but as with many clubs in J2 are good at squeezing out results and making the most of what is available to them (obviously Avispa is not included in this group).

Again I expect us to win, but have said that so many times and then seen us lose badly it is turning into a bad joke.
At least our poor league position may mean there are some good odds available if you wanted to bet on a game.

Avispa news
I think Avispa have to find a way to take Tsutsumi out of the team, but Oh is now listed as injured, and the only other alternative is Wada. With a 29 man squad it is a shambolic situation, and the defence will probably stay unchanged.

Suzuki Jun has now been installed as Captain, I don’t know why. Last week we had Koga and Okada both playing who have been Captain, but it was Suzuki who ended up with the armband. Don’t know what Maeda has seen which I haven’t, but he will probably stay in the team with Okada. Sueyoshi must be wondering what has happened to his career. J2 Rookie of the year, to bench player for a team at the bottom of J2 in 18 months.

Kihara and Ishizu will stay on the bench, but only on reputation as Naruoka has done very little this season.

Nishida did ok last week and will probably start with Skata who remains in terrible form.

Thespa news
Experienced midfielder (and ex-Avispa player) Matsushita is suspended for this game, but Thespa have other experienced midfielders who will come in and try to put pressure on our central 2.
If they have watched any recent footage of Avispa they will be aiming everything at the right-side of our defence where another ex-Avispa player Lincoln could have a field day.

My Prediction
Avispa 2 – 0 Thespa
I’m staying optimistic, just because it would seem so crazy to be predicting anything but a home win against Thespa at the start of the season.
Would really like to see Nishida or Ishizu score their first goals.

Posted July 28, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

Kenta Kano?   Leave a comment

Fukuoka has been in the news a little this week after the quite bizarre situation of a player being linked to come on loan to us being announced on the blog of a friend of his before either club confirming it.

The player involved is Kenta Kano from Yokohama F Marinos who plays in midfield.
He is 26 and has played his whole career at Marinos, with a scoring record which suggests he likes to get forward.
I’d assume he would be coming to play in central midfield as that is where we have been having major problems, and there are numerous players available to play on either wing position.

At this stage of the season I can’t really see the point of bringing anyone else in, unless it is with an eye on him staying for next season.
We probably need to win 75% of our games from now to the end of the season to even make the play-offs, and the addition of one player, while maybe improving things is unlikely to change things that dramatically.
I’d sooner the money was spent on changing the coaching set-up and paying off Maeda, with any extra being put aside to rebuild the team next season.

Here is a photo of him at his ‘farewell party’, with a shirt signed to wish him good luck in Fukuoka.
It would seem unlikely that they would cancel the whole transfer after this.

Posted July 28, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

vs. Mito (youtube)   Leave a comment

For once it seems that cocktails hasn’t uploaded the Avispa goals. Maybe he is as fed up with the current season as me.

The Mito goals recorded using a camera pointed at teh TV!

Posted July 28, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

vs. Mito Hollyhock (report)   Leave a comment

Mito 4 – 2 Avispa

Surely this has to stop, surely Maeda has to be sacked if he doesn’t resign?
At a club who have brought in a large number of players from J1, have some very talented young players, and a wage bill which must be among the top 5-6 in the division we are now in 16th position, just behind Matsumoto Yamaga.

The game yesterday started as well as it could have done with Kim Minje (again playing like someone who should be in J1) charging down a ball to block an attempted clearance and put a ball dangerously into the box. Sakata should have done better after a parry from the keeper, but from the rebound Jogo decided to hit a first time bicycle kick into the goal and score another outrageous goal.
Looking at this season and some of the wonder goals which have been scored by individual brilliance it isn’t unrealistic to say we could be even lower than 16th.

Avispa went on to control the first half, and should have extended their lead but with strikers out of form they were often making wrong options. Naruoka Sho in particular decided to pass after making his way to near the penalty spot, and shoot wildly over from outside the box with 3 options in it.
Mito had chances to equalise, mostly through our Achille’s heel this season: crosses into the box. Twice attackers missed from positions they should have scored from, or at least got a header on target.

Coming out for the second half I was epxecting Avispa to shut up shop, and play their possession game which while not capable of making many chances should stifle the opposition out of the game.
The game started getting a little aggressive, which I always thinks suits Avispa, but just as it looked like we could take the upper hand Mito equalised.
It came from the right flank again where Tsutsumi was again absolutely terrible. I know Wada was awful when he played too, and oh is now listed as injured, but there must be something we can do to stop Tsutsumi ever playing.
A ball into the box should have been delat with, but was instead allowed to be slipped through to a Mito attacker to smash against the bar. The rebound was clearly tapped in by the striker’s hand, but the referee missed it.

After this Avispa went totally to pieces. They will say that Mito’s second goal should have been disallowed after Suzuki Jun was fouled, and that there was a big deflection for the 3rd or 4th, but the reality is we are shit.
The players are not as good as they think they are. The manager is awful. The fringe players who may offer something are never given a chance. And Mito were the better team.

We got a late goal as Koga and Kobara combined to bundle home a Suzuki Jun cross but who cares.

Posted July 23, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Mito (preview)   Leave a comment

As any sort of competitive entity of any interest our season is over. Consecutive defeats to Tokushima and Yamagata, after previously drawing about 6 games in a row means we have no chance of doing any other than finishing in the top 10 at best. A meaningless feat.

For this reason i would prefer us to start playing younger players and those who want to be at the club in J2 next season. From this we can see who is good enough, and which positions we need to get new players for.

With Yutaka injured in the last game I would love to see Samir or Nishida play from the start, I’d like to see Masato on the bench even more.
Oh should play at right-back, Iishizu on the wing, Suzuki and Sueyoshi in midfield even if Okada gives us a little more. This season is a write-off, let’s try and get something from it.

Mito have had their characteristic good start, but are now in decline mode and I would hope that we can win the game, even with some players who are on teh edges of the squad; especially with players on the edge of the squad who might see some reason to this otherwise fairly meaningless game.

Avispa News
Omata is having some operation on his knee, Yamaguchi is long term out, and Yutaka went off last week injured early.
Even if they are fit to play I would sooner play Minje, Hatamoto and Nishida any way.
Maeda isn’t going to admit defeat so apart from this will maintain the same failing 442 formation, and players who have ‘achieved’ a 14th spot in the table despite having one of the biggest wage bills in the division.

Mito news
Mito have noone out injured, and despite picking up a draw at Level-5 stadium didn’t really look like a team who should be causing many problems for Avispa.

Their Peruvian midfielder Romero Frank was particularly poor on that day so hopefully he will be playing and give our midfield a bit of confidence.

My Prediction
Mito 0 – 2 Avispa

Don’t know why I bother, but Ill still maintain that Avispa should be beating teams like this at a brisk walk. Maybe the players have the same belief which is why they play so aimlessly.

Posted July 22, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Montedio Yamagata (report)   Leave a comment

Yamagata 3 : 1 Avispa


For a long period of this game it didn’t seem totally unrealistic that Avispa might be abole to get at least a point as our midfield was sort of matching theirs, and for much of the first half we looked more like scoring than them.

There were no obvious clear chances for us, but with some neat passing the ball was getting into fairly dangerous areas, and with the hope that Sakata might regain his early season form there was always a hope that possession might be turned into goals.

In defence we looked much better than against Tokushima as Hatamoto came back in and did well alongside Koga, but were offering sporadic chances from crosses into the box which Yamagata were being surprisingly poor at converting into goals.

Just as it seemed we should make it to half-time at 0-0 kamiyama dropped his first howler of the season as he stretched too far for a high ball into the box and dropped it over his head and behind him for a Yamagata striker to convert from about 1m out.
It was the worst possible end to the half and pretty much ended the game as a contest. Away from home against Yamagata, with our best striker out of form and Yutaka gone off injured to be replaced by the goal-shy Nishida it didn’t seem likely we could do anything.

Trying to chase the game going into the 2nd half we were caught by a team who understand that by playing the ball fast and into space, before driving into the box from areas where you can’t really be tackled for fear of giving away free-kicks and penalties will always cause problems. As more space opened up Yamagata scored 2 more quick goals, both from players going past defenders in dangerous places and low crosses forced home.

Avispa didn’t give up and having Kihara and Iishizu on the bench to add some pace and directness even got a goal back. It was a pretty poor goal as a shot got deflected to edge past the keeper, but showed that when you get near the box and shoot then things tend to happen.
We don’t need to be scoring goal of the season after a 35 pass move every game, in fact it is more important we know how to score bread and butter goals every game before trying to be Japan’s answer to the Spanish National team.

Posted July 22, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

vs. Montedio Yamagata (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa have now dropped to 14th in the table after an awful week of results, with the gap to the play-offs opened up to 11 points.

The teams in the top 7 have the quality that they are not going to drop a lot of points between now and the end of the season, so in my opinion our chances of obtaining a play-off spot are close to zero.

What I would like to happen is to play a young, hungry team to see who can perform at this level, and see where we need to get new players before next season and who we might be able to remove from the wage bill

In my opinion Ishizu has shown that we can probably save the 15m yen we pay Naruoka and not be much weaker, Hatamoto has shown we don’t need to pay Tsutsumi 12m. Maybe Masato could show that the 12m that Yutaka gets is something we don’t need to pay.
Unfortunately for this to happen it would need Maeda to accpet that this season has been a failure, and to do so would probably cost him his job.

My disappointment with this season can be summed up by looking at last time we went to Yamagata and came away with a 6-0 victory in which Ushinohama scored 2 goals and sold 500 shirts in the process. This season in a division lower he hasn’t come close to playing, Masato the same.

Avispa news
koga will come back into the team to sort out the defence, but now kobara is suspended instead. It is nowhere near as serious, but the question will be who partner’s Koga. I expect it to be Tsutsumi again, but would prefer it to be Hatamoto. Miyaji probably has more chance than Hatamoto due to Maeda’s aversion to youth.

Wada was horrible at right-back. If Oh isn’t good enough to play ahead of him, Tsutsumi, or Miyaji then Maeda doesn’t rate him at all unfortunately. Looking back at his insane debut where we looked like we might have a superstar is depressing.

The midfield needs 3 players. Sueyoshi should come in, but that would need another acceptance of fault from Maeda so he will keep with an ineffective 2 and be swamped by passing through midfield.
Ishizu might play if Naruoka hasn’t shaken off his ankle problem. No big loss.

Yamagata news
Yamagata also have a defender suspended which will hopefully help to disrupt their defence a little. I’m sure it will be a bigger loss than Kobara is to ours.
They have a canny, experienced team who score a lot of goals from set-pieces. Pretty much the worst possible team for us to be playing.

No obvious superstar players, but a well organised, well-drilled team who try to keep things simple and direct. The opposite of us basically.

My Prediction
Yamagata 3 – 0 Avispa
3 goals from set pieces, probably all scored from free headers.

i’d be quite happy with a big loss if it turned out to be Maeda’s last game.

Posted July 14, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview